Maintaining forward presence with partners and allies is essential

Maintaining forward presence with partners and allies is essential

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Today and in future conflicts, the U.S. Army fights in conjunction with partners and allies, making forward stationed units and equipment critical to maintaining an advantage, a panel of experts said at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Hot Topic forum on air and missile defense (AMD) Feb. 11.

"To enhance our allies’ capacity and capability, forward presence is needed," said Brig. Gen. Keith McNamara, USA, Ret., director of business development for the Raytheon Company.

McNamara added that current network capability must adapt to integrate partners and allies.

Col. Gregory Brady, deputy commander, 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command, said the recent report from the National Commission on the Future of the U.S. Army expressed the need to increase missile defense capacity.

"Our potential adversaries continue to expand and improve their ballistic and cruise missile forces, along with new longer-range unmanned aerial systems," Brady said.

Adding, "Growing missile inventories with improved precision guidance and ballistic missile defense countermeasures has increased the risk of potential overmatch against U.S. air and missile defense forces throughout the world."

Brady said with a resurgent Russia in Eastern Europe, ISIL and Iran in the Middle East, and North Korea in the pacific, "the need to build partnership capacity has never been greater."

Investments in U.S. partner capacity, such as joint exercises, knowledge sharing, and leader exchange programs, lead to stronger relationships, Brady said.

Assuring U.S. access to airspace and lines of communication are also necessary to maintaining forward presence.

Brady recommended three ways to strengthen the bond between the U.S. and partner nations in the near future: a seamless combined networked mission command, reducing cost of AMD operations by achieving greater efficiency, and improving offensive/defensive integration.

"Over the next few years, we will continue to seek multilateral data-sharing agreements and develop properly protected communications architectures to facilitate data sharing," Brady said.

In September 2016, Exercise Tobruq Legacy will feature 18 different nations, up from five last year, said Col. Janell Eickhoff, commander of the 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command.

This year’s exercise will help determine "not just doctrine, but integration and interoperability," she said.

This AUSA Institute of Land Warfare Hot Topic was sponsored by Northrop Grumman and Raytheon; both companies are AUSA sustaining members.


Luc Dunn